The Dancing Masks of The Babukung

The Dancing Masks of The Babukung

Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan is a long way from anywhere. However, as soon as I heard about the Babukung Mask Festival held there every year, I went on the hunt to find out more. Not long afterwards—after two connecting flights from Jakarta to Pangkalan Bun—I found myself on the

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Celebrating Indigenous Dance and Rituals at Gawai Festival

Celebrating Indigenous Dance and Rituals at Gawai Festival

 The crocodile appeared on the stage in the form of a human. The dancer writhed and slithered, accompanied by the deep tones of the didgeridoo. This opening dance at the 2018 Gawai Festival was received with loud cheers from the crowd.The Gawai festival committee had invited the Australian Aboriginal and

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Bajau, The Sea Gypsies of the Togeans

Bajau, The Sea Gypsies of the Togeans

I had the honour of meeting Rohani, a wise, proud man, on the front porch of his home in Kabalutan Village, in the Togean Islands. He is a Bajau, a man of the sea, and has been a fisherman all his life, or as he likes to say, a hunter.

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The Magic of Kalimantan

The Magic of Kalimantan

Kalimantan is an island offering superb snorkeling and diving, pristine rainforests, a rich array of exotic wildlife and is home to the Dayak people, some of the friendliest people in the world. Come on a journey to three handpicked places and discover what adventures awaits you. Text by STEPHANIE BROOKES

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Culture, Color and a Global Gathering at Gawai Festival

Culture, Color and a Global Gathering at Gawai Festival

Story by STEPHANIE BROOKES Photos by DAVID METCALF I stood with my blowpipe at the ready. “Gather strength from your core and aim high,” Agus advised. “We are excited to have an Australian team enter the competition and best of luck to you”, he added with a broad smile. More

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Into the Wilds – Sabangau National Park

Into the Wilds – Sabangau National Park

I started my trek in the Sabangau National Park, Central Kalimantan under a veil of darkness.  The earthy smell of the peat bog forest rose sharply to greet me as I held my torch steady so as not to trip and fall into the organic black water swamp that lay

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Kalimantan – Festival of Colour

I arrived late in the evening to catch the Prince and Princess Tourism Competition. Suddenly chairs were parted and bodies shifted to make room for me in the front row. I was ordered to sit here, by one of the Dayak ladies, so I quickly took my place between a

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Nomads of the Sea

Nomads of the Sea

I sat talking with Asman, an ethnic Bajau Palauk on his wooden fishing boat as sea cucumbers dried on the upper deck and we spoke about his seafaring life. “We love to be on the ocean. The ocean is our land. We feel very happy and content and it is

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Discovering Orangutans

Discovering Orangutans

A journey on the Rungan River, Central Kalimantan allows you to explore primate country, experience traditional village life on the river and have contact with the local Dayak culture in a pristine jungle environment, with no other tourists around. Gaye and Lorna, the Australian and English owners of the Rahai’i Pangun

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West Kalimantan – Karimata Islands

West Kalimantan – Karimata Islands

Pontianak in West Kalimantan is the starting point for a trip to the Karimata Islands. The bustling harbour is alive with activity and home to a myriad of traditional boats. After stepping down from the pier, I had to scramble across a number of unseasworthy looking boats and was delighted

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